I don’t know where I’m gonna get the time, or why I have to do this, but I feel I have to do this.
It’s not a big shock: I knew this was coming, long before the hot stove started heating up. I see the logic. I hope it works out. It’s not a big shock: the Rockies just traded Chris Iannetta too. It’s not a big shock: I’m totally emotionally stable right now, unlike the Ubaldo trade.
I guess I need to talk about it though.
So this is a story. A story about me mostly, and how Huston Street weaved his way into being one of my favorite players.
This story began on a cold November day. I was in the car with my mom, listening to The Ride Home on KOA, as we normally did. But then, I heard some words that sent a sickening feeling into my stomach.
"We’ll talk with Tracy Ringolsby on the Holliday Trade…"
I was shocked, although I knew it was coming. But still, I had a hard time wrapping my mind that the Rockies hometown hero was…gone.
Matt Holliday was never my favorite player, although I could’ve easily chosen him in my first year of fandom. When Tulo was gone in 2008 due to his injury, I cheered more for Matt, as he was my #2 spot. Great player, good guy, and he had that awful Todd Agnew song as his at-bat clip- This Fragile Breath. I still get sad whenever I hear You speak with thunder and lightning…But anyway, I really liked Holliday, and he was practically my favorite for half the year. I disregarded the facts and rumors that he would be traded that season, but that November day they all came true.
KOA came back from a commercial and played a clip of Matt Holliday hitting a home run as their bumper music. That was it. I cried silently.
The next day I looked over the analysis in the paper. We got three guys in exchange for him- a cocky young outfielder who wanted to win the World Series and be the MVP. Yeah, whatever, kid. You’re not Matt Holliday. The next piece was a replacement starter. Meh. And then there was a closer who stuck out his tongue when he pitched. What a dork. But better than Brian Fuentes, I guess.
The Holliday trade was a total bust.
The Spring and Summer of 2009 were one of the most fun times to be a Rockies fan, because we were legit. I didn’t know it coming in- all I could think about was the big empty spot in the lineup without Matt Holliday. Corpas and Street were competing for the closer spot. And I disliked Corpas greatly. The first game I went to that year consisted of Manny Corpas blowing a save….and Street taking the loss. The thing was- I was sick of closers torturing me and blowing leads. Brian Fuentes blew a save on my birthday in 2008, and I hated him forever after that.
I disliked the concept of having pitchers as favorite players for some odd reason. All my top five were position players. I guess I thought it just wasn’t cool waiting a couple days to see pitchers play.
Huston Street was good. He took the closer role, lost it, then got it back again. And owned.
Maybe I liked watching him pitch because we won all the time when he did.
He peers over at the catcher, bent as he waits for the sign. Straightens. Rocks a bit and throws.
Strike three. Street closed.
And that’s how 2009 went.
I like to remember the good times, but truth is there was bad times. I don’t know what I want to remember right now. I’m just kind of hazy because I am. It’s a crazy week. And then I wake up to find the rumor, the news, the confirmation. Huston Street traded to the Padres. I want the deal to miraculously go away, the hot stove to burn out. I get dressed and run to the class I’m late for, coincidentally running down 16th Street. Dang this sucks. If he was gonna get traded, I never wanted to see his beautiful face again. Like Ubaldo in the AL- I can deal with that because I never watch him pitch if he’s in the AL.
Oh, crap, I’m gonna have to see Street in an ugly blue hat.
You know that night. That weekend.
Back in Denver, tied at five. Gotta hold ‘em, and go ahead in the bottom of the inning. Single, groundout, single, sacrifice fly. Nothing happened at the bottom of the inning.
Then October 12th. It pains me to even look at the boxscore.
All my favorite players were not chosen on their looks, even to this day they sorta weren’t. I didn’t think Huston Street was good looking at the beginning of 2009. Didn’t care. Even as the season went on, he kinda grew on me because he was doing such a good job of closing. And chicks dig the 9th-inning strikeout.
But even after the day Huston Street broke my heart really bad (or should I say the first time he did), I still liked him and rooted for him, unlike past closers. Which is something.
And then I saw the Rockies All Access clip of him playing guitar and wearing glasses.
And then my nerdy little heart began to melt.
"Huston Street, you suck."
"He doesn’t suck!...Sometimes he blows…saves"
Post 2009 playoffs, everyone I talked to hated Huston Street. They had an unbearable grudge against him for blowing the only two games they saw. I took it upon myself to defend him, which usually involved blaming the umpires. The 2010 season rolled around and then I boosted my argument to contain save conversion percentage. They called him overpaid. They called him a choker. I called him the best closer in Rockies history (with just a tad bit of bias). I said he gets the job done, and sat back in my seat.
His walk-out song resonated from section to section of Coors Field.
When he came in to pitch, we knew it would be an interesting night. Three-run leads diminished. We all held our breath.
Tying run at third. I remember Game 4 and look at the scoreboard filled with 2’s. Oh, great. I leaned forward in my seat. Come Huston, you can do it. You really can. He did, and I followed by confessing my love from the second deck. My sister never looked at me the same after that.
Memories, good and bad. Of one my favorite game memories is going to San Francisco and watching him close it out. Even those crazy saves in 2011 that made me have heart-attacks. Rooting for a guy, who in 2010 and 2011 just wasn’t the same, and fell behind on counts, injuries, and scores. It was fun to defend him to strangers at the game, family members, and misguided internet people. I knew I was right, and didn’t care if I wasn’t. If we were ahead and he was up the bullpen throwing in a purple jersey, everything was alright. We’d win. Unless we didn’t. And if he loaded the bases it didn’t matter because he could always start a game-ending double play. And as much as I hated the bases being loaded, I loved it.
But I loved hearing his post-game interviews and watching him in commercials. He always knew what to say. He was so classy in interviews, and funny in commercials. He answered my question in Denver Post fanmail, and did it awesomely. You know what, he was a Rockie. And that's why he was one of my favorites, more than his pretty face.
This story finds everything different from when it first started. We’re a different team.
I finally cried a little bit. The thing that’s sad though, is that Street was the one. The one I wanted Iannetta to run up to after making the final out in the World Series.
This…this is baseball, and what makes it beautiful. The love, drama, and heartbreak. The struggles. The frustration. The fact that we as fans with hearts fall in love with players not just because they’re good. It’s part of the cycle. And I’d do it all over again.
I loved you, Huston Street.